Ijaw elders in the Niger Delta say that they cannot hand over former Niger Delta Militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo to security agencies because they don’t have the power to do and also do not know where he is at the moment.
A High court in Lagos last week gave a warrant for Tompolo’s arrest after he failed to appear in court to answer some fraud cases he is alleged to have committed.
The Ijaw elders who spoke differently with Vanguard, said it will be unfair for the Federal government to ask them to produce Tompolo and those who carried out the recent attacks on oil installations.
According to them, if the security officials with all their intelligence cannot locate Tompolo, how can they who are mere civilians know his whereabouts.
Chairman, Ijaw Okosu –Otu (Ijaw Council of Elders) in Delta State, Chief Bare Etolor, said
“It is unfair for the Federal Government to ask Ijaw communities to handover suspects that carried out the bombing because we do not know them. In addition, I do not see how anybody expects us to handover Tompolo to security agencies because we do not have the power to do that, except they want to humiliate us. It is unfortunate that the Presidency wants to handle the matter from this angle. Which of the Northern elders did they tell to produce the Boko Haram leaders that are bombing in their areas. So, why are they telling us to handover people who bombed pipelines here? If they know the person that did it and ask us to help produce the person and we see him, we can assist with information if we have any. How can anybody say Ijaw leaders should handover suspects? We do not know who did it. It is not right. Even if they tell us the person, we do not have arms to arrest anybody. What they are doing is to make us not to have confidence in this government. What power do we have over armed militants? We can only talk to them as elders, not arrest them with guns. I am not supporting criminality. In fact, anybody among us, the Ijaw elders, can be a victim anytime. It is difficult for us to produce Tompolo. If they cannot see him with all their intelligence, where do they expect us to see him? I have not even seen Tompolo myself for ages.”he said
Another Ijaw leader in Gbaramatu kingdom, Chief Godspower Gbenekame, while speaking on the matter, said
“How can you say we should hand over Tompolo to the EFCC, are we security agents? If he had dealings with EFCC, they should arrest him. Why are they calling Gbaramatu elders? What I know is that Tompolo made many enemies when he worked for the Federal Government to guard the pipelines. He burnt illegal refineries, razed boats and these people are not happy. He has been a partner to the government all this while, that is why we called for a political solution to the matter.”